Yadkin River Bridge Work, NCDOT
Greensboro, NC-- The Triad has many substandard bridges but the DOT is making improvements.
Five years ago, a bridge collapse in Minneapolis killed 13 people and injured 145 others. That incident led to an investigation of bridges all over the nation.
The Triad is home to some of the worst bridges in North Carolina. Topping the AAA Carolinas list of North Carolina substandard bridges is the bridge in Greensboro over South Buffalo Creek at the intersection of Business I-40 and Business I-85.
The AAA list reported that the top 20 substandard bridges in the state carry over 7.5 million vehicles a week and 32% of all bridges in the state are substandard with an average age of 51 years.
Tim Powers, Division Bridge Program Manager of the NCDOT told News 2 that a substandard classification doesn't mean the bridge is dangerous for everyone.
"That doesn't mean they're not safe. That just means they may be posted that heavy vehicles or even school buses or emergency vehicles cannot cross those bridges safely," explained Powers.
The Highway 8 Bridge in Davidson County falls into the substandard category. It closed in June after a truck crashed into it. That bridge is still being repaired.
The DOT has plans to replace 80 local bridges in rural areas as part of the Low Impact Bridge Replacement Program. Powers told News 2 that in the two years since the program started, they've replaced four bridges.
"There is room for improvement on our state's bridges but let me assure the people our bridges are safe. We do have to prioritize and get our ducks in order. That's for sure. We want to be good stewards of the taxpayer's money. We want to spend it correctly and as efficiently as we can," said Powers.
Despite the department losing state funding in recent years, Powers said no money has been pulled away from the bridge programs.
WFMY News 2, North Carolina DOT